VANGUARD - Expressing the viewpoint of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
For National Independence and Socialism •


Farewell Judy Henstock Murupaenga

Judy Henstock (Huri Murupaenga)

When Sydney journalist Judy Henstock Murupaenga died in November last year New Zealand, her birthplace, and Australia lost a passionate advocate for human rights and equality. For those who knew and loved her, there was tremendous sadness in her passing, but also gratitude for a precious legacy. 

Judy’s son named her the “Joan of Arc of Balmain”. She was always out and about in her local area, talking, but above all listening. For her, an essential part of understanding objective conditions, being able to ‘read’ them, was listening to a large number of people.
She spoke of an experience that provided a template for her later activity. As an isolated, young mother, she created a petition against the Vietnam War, door-knocking in her local area with children in tow. She built connections but also gauged people’s attitudes, beliefs and levels of understanding. 
Communist methods were her guide. The daughter of leading New Zealand communists Alec and Molly Ostler, Judy understood the strengths and weaknesses of communist practice. According to Judy, communists have to be active in the issues that naturally surround them, and set an example of decent, ethical service to the people. Judy believed communists have to be respectable in its truest sense, of being ‘able to be respected’.
Judy experienced first hand what it meant to be broke for long periods of time, yet her willingness to listen to others, her home cooked meals, small gifts and especially her wonderful Maori bread (a reminder of her proud communal heritage and struggle) were legendary amongst friends and family.
Judy condemned dogmatism and sectarianism. She was a deep thinker and analyser, determined to see beyond appearances, to discover the essence of things. Activity must be based on current mass understanding, backed up by mass education. She believed in studying real Australian and world conditions, including data from government sources and organisations like St Vincent de Paul and the Brotherhood of St Lawrence. She was adamant that information be sourced: we couldn’t expect people to believe us just because of who we were. 
She urged patience and respect for others, rather than rushing into activities like a bull at a gate, yet she coupled this with an intense desire to act against injustice. She hated preaching.  She rephrased Lenin’s advice not to tell people what they already know into the earthier idiom, “Don’t teach your grandmother to suck eggs.” 
She believed we have to discover new ways of organising, new methods of work. “We have to constantly review ourselves, changing from week to week, month to month,” she said. She despised ruling class deceit and manipulation. “I read lots of magazines,” she said. “People reading are having a relationship with people they’ll never meet. Howard has set himself up like this and he does it well. We need to use similar methods.” She singled out key ruling class organisations: “We need to name the names behind the Business Council of Australia, and do it often. It’s people who drive it, who organise it. We need to give life to their class links, their directorships and clubs.”
Her deepest motivation, was an optimism based on experience that fundamental change was not only possible but inevitable. Her starting point was an analysis of mass sentiment. “People are angry but feel futile. We need to show that things are winnable,” she said. “We have to keep trying till we find something that works.” 
In the latter years of her life Judy became active in the NSW Council of Civil Liberties, but was frustrated by poor health. “We have to keep reminding people that new laws are leading to terrorism by the ruling class,” she warned. “People being picked off, one at a time, like Nazi Germany.”
Judy’s eyes would sparkle with a thousand plans. Despite years of illness and intense pain, Judy was determined to help change the world. While it took its toll, her bright words on facing another setback, “Never mind!” showed her refusal to give up.
In the last days of her life Judy joined tens of thousands protesting against Howard’s industrial relations’ laws.
Judy made the world a better place.
 “A red libation to your good memory, friend. There’s work yet, for the living.” Hone Tuwhare. 
(From a biography of Maori poet, Hone Tuwhare, by Janet Hunt)